Benjamin Shambaugh and the Intellectual Foundations of Public Hisory
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Foreword and Acknowledgments
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Benjamin Franklin Shambaugh (1871–1940), superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa, was one of the first “pioneers” to be discovered in the early days of the modern public history movement. In1980, while compiling an annotated bibliography of public works and environmental ...
Prologue: The Last Dance
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At the height of the Gilded Age, in December of 1897, the members of the American Historical Association (AHA) and the American Economic Association met jointly in Cleveland, mostly, it seems, to celebrate the holiday season. Senator Mark Hanna entertained a select group of AHA officers in his home. Three other prominent Cleveland couples ...
1. From the New History to Applied History
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James Harvey Robinson synthesized the canons of the New History in his collection of essays published under the same name in 1912, but the phrase first appeared in 1898, and the intellectual reform movement it signified had been gathering adherents throughout 1890s. Earle W. Dow introduced the term in the pages of the American Historical Review in a long discourse ...
2. A Gift of Fate
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From scattered passages in Swisher’s manuscript, one learns that Benjamin Shambaugh was thirteen when his father died. Benjamin was one of ten children born to John Shambaugh, a successful farmer in Clinton County, Iowa, and his wife, Eve Anna Ziegler. Five sons and two daughters survived to adulthood. With such a large family to provide for, ...
3. The Politics of Public Institutions
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Early surveys conducted by the AHA’s Public Archives Commission and Henry Bourne’s two-year investigation of state and local historical societies indicated that emerging organizational structures varied considerably from state to state. None of them, however, became more convoluted than Iowa’s. The SHSI, established by an act of the state legislature in 1857, ...
4. A Deliberate Course: Applied History
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One can only guess at the course Shambaugh might have set for the SHSI had the legislative outcome been different in 1909. Swisher and others have claimed that Shambaugh always had a “clear idea of his long-range plans,” that he began “ develop[ing] a plan for the type of institution he wanted the historical society to become” from the time he joined the ...
5. The Commonwealth Conference: 1923–1930
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The Commonwealth Conference was perhaps Shambaugh’s most innovative undertaking. Certainly it was the most complex, for it required teamwork among staff members and immense amounts of time to develop programs, secure speakers, invite participants, produce historical background reports, coordinate logistics, and promote events. In some respects, ...
6. A New Deal in the Game of Life
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Considering that Shambaugh once “dream[ed] of the day when Iowa history not only will be translated into folklore, but transmitted into the hearts of our people,” it is difficult to fathom some of the actions he took during the 1930s. Humanists generally rejoiced at New Deal funding for culture and the arts, and the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), in particular, ...
7. The Emergence of the Modern Public History Movement
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No direct link connects Benjamin Shambaugh to the emergence of the public history movement in the 1970s. Rather, the years between Shambaugh’s deliberate attempts to promote applied history and commonwealth history and Robert Kelley’s coining of the term “public history” in the mid 1970s are marked by a gradual progression of historians ...
Abbreviations and Shortened References
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Collected Works of Benjamin F. Shambaugh, 1893–1940
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Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2002